Facebook founder voted top man in tech

Mark Zuckerberg heads the list of Web 2.0 entrepreneurs breaking into the ranks of an annual poll to name IT's 50 most influential people

Mark Zuckerberg, the 23-year-old founder and chief executive of social networking site Facebook, has been named the most influential person in technology for 2007.

Zuckerberg topped the eighth annual Agenda Setters poll by ZDNet.co.uk's sister site silicon.com. The poll rates which technology leaders are making the biggest impact.

The Agenda Setters top 50 was thrashed out by a panel of industry experts voting for the individuals who, in their opinion, have been most influential in IT in 2007.

Facebook was launched just over three years ago and now has 42 million active users around the world. According to ComScore, the number of UK users has tripled to nine million during the past six months alone.

In 2006, the "next generation" collectively was ranked number two in the poll and it seems this year they have made a breakthrough.

Tony Hallett, editor and site director of silicon.com, said it has been fascinating to watch the rapid changes that have taken place in the past year.

Hallett said: "Up until 2004, chief executives, politicians and regulators topped the polls every year. Clearly, the technology industry has undergone a massive transformation since then, as a 23-year-old has taken the top slot as the chief executive of one of the largest social networks in the world."

The vote saw social networking and blogging make a real impression, with Rob Pardo (23) of World of Warcraft; Michael Arrington (35), founder of TechCrunch; and Cory Doctorow (41), editor of Boing Boing, all arriving in the top 50.

The 2007 list marks the first year a senior Microsoft figure hasn't made it into the top 20, with Kim Cameron, chief architect of identity and access, the sole Redmond representative, at number 33.

Reflecting the increasing role of Web 2.0, the BBC's director of future media and technology, Ashley Highfield (5), rose three places, primarily for his work around the iPlayer online TV service.

Viviane Reding (10), the European commissioner for information society and media, was a new entry this year as result of playing a leading role in cutting mobile roaming rates in Europe.

But old favourites Steve Jobs (2), chief executive of Apple; Eric Schmidt (3), chief executive of Google; and John Chambers (4), chief executive of Cisco, all made the sharp end of the list once again.

The only person to have appeared in every Agenda Setters poll since its inception in 2000 is Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon.com, who this year appears at number 15, up 28 places from 2006.